Next week, the Charleston Wine and Food Festival takes over town, so this weekend we recommend saving your calories and eating your vegetables. Below are some restaurants featuring vegetable dishes made with local produce from GrowFood Carolina.
Our latest obsession: FIG's nine vegetable salad. "Our nine vegetable salad is an incredible expression of how we like to eat: veggies in a bowl, unpretentious and delicious," says FIG Chef de Cuisine Jason Stanhope. Stanhope and Sous Chef Sarah Adams seek out their favorite fresh nine vegetables, put them on a cutting board, and decide how to fabricate them with as little manipulation as possible. They then poach, pickle, roast, blanch, or in some cases don't cook the vegetables at all. They all get tossed in an anchovy-forward caesar dressing and finished with Parmesan and sourdough croutons ($13). "I usually wake up with veggies on my mind, and this is one of our many veggie-centric dishes," adds Jason. FIG's spiced carrot and avocado salad ($11) and the Vegetables to Share selection ($8) are both worthy of consideration if you're seeking pure expression vegetable dishes.
Over at Hominy Grill, Chef Robert Stehling recommends the kale, potato, and bacon soup featuring local kale from GrowFood ($5). For brunch try the broccoli, ham, and roasted red pepper omelet ($10). If that isn't enough veggie for you, order a side of mashed sweet potatoes, yams, or collard and mustard greens, all local ($3). And don't forget about their seasonal vegetable plate, which features a rotation of 15-18 vegetables.
At the Macintosh, start with the Kurios Farms bibb lettuce appetizer featuring pickled beets, roasted beets, benne seed, pickled red onion, and feta cheese ($11). For the main course, order the winter vegetable plate, which includes Carolina Gold Rice Grits and seasonal local vegetables including mushrooms and butternut squash ($23). English peas, Tuscan kale, and brussels sprouts make up their hearty veggie sides ($6).
The sizable vegetable plate at SNOB features sautéed spinach, sweet potatoes, grilled eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, tofu, green beans, peas, broccoli, and local baby carrots from Ambrose Farms ($18). "This vegetable plate is like no other because it is such a massive serving of hearty and healthy vegetables," says Sous Chef Shawn Kelly.
If you're in the mood for pizza but still want to get your daily serving of vegetables, check out the new Crust on Maybank Highway. Start with the local bibb and beet salad with bibb lettuce, raw shaved baby beets, goat cheese, pistachios, and pickled onions, tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette ($7). "This salad is the perfect combination of light, lean, healthy, and nutritious," says Chef Dusty Chorvat. For the best vegetable pizza, Chorvat recommends the Butternut, a 12-in. pizza topped with roasted squash, mushrooms, caramelized onions, goat and mozzarella cheeses, and garnished with arugula and truffle oil ($12).